Interlude inspires hearts

Erin Tsai, Staff Writer

The elementary student logs onto Zoom, anxiously glancing at their sheet music. Awaiting is a high school musician with warm-up scales and technique exercises at hand, ready to coach or play along with them as the student prepares for an upcoming audition. Even though it’s a video call, it only takes one lesson to quell the student’s anxieties and set them up for perfect practice throughout the next week.

Founded by Northwood’s Interlude club, Interlude Musical Outreach is a nonprofit organization that allows high school students the opportunity to give music lessons to elementary and middle school students on almost all instruments. The volunteer-based one-on-one music lessons allow students to not only improve their skills, but also learn from someone who has gone through much of IUSD’s music program. In addition to providing lessons, they also hold masterclasses, recording sessions and workshops on topics such as music theory and upcoming auditions.

“Private lessons are pretty expensive, so providing free lessons is a good way for the students to explore music and how it can be incorporated into their lives,” Interlude co-president senior Amy Takagi said. “Helping new musicians grow is also our way of giving back to our community.”

Being a teacher with Interlude allows high schoolers who are normally the students to become the teachers. Lessons can include everything from learning basic technique of an instrument to the musical phrasing of pieces depending on students’ needs, since the students are encouraged to lead their own lessons with the teacher’s support rather than having teachers tell the student what to do every time. 

“I really prioritize having students think for themselves. It’s more me asking questions about what they think in order for me to support them rather than telling them what to do,” freshman Lucas Nguyen said. “It’s really helped me improve as well. I’ve never had a bigger growth playing wise in my long experience with violin so I account it mostly to my teaching.”

With their growth in students and volunteers, Interlude developed the Interlude Connect app to streamline the process of pairing students with teachers, allowing students to choose teachers based on instrument and availability. The app also includes a chat as well as a scheduling feature.

“We wanted to expand our reach and serve more students, so we had to automate the pairing system,” Interlude co-president senior Miya Liu said. “An app was our best option. Now we can shift their focus to outreach instead of managing the pairings.”

Interlude hopes to continue expanding and increasing its impact on the community. The organization created a new branch in Portola High School this past September and is getting both students and teachers from outside of Irvine involved in the program. With the increase in lessons, they hope to fulfill their mission of providing music education opportunities to as many aspiring musicians as possible.

“As I started teaching, I noticed how much joy teaching brings me,” Liu said. “By learning how to become a better teacher, I am also becoming a better musician myself, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to guide and shape someone’s music identity.”

If you are interested in taking music lessons or getting involved with Interlude, visit for more information.